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Opposition figure criticizes halt of cattle trade

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Posted: Thursday, May 21, 2020. 2:02 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Orange Walk South representative and shadow minister for agriculture, Jose Abelardo Mai, has criticized the sudden halt to the “illegal” cattle trade between Belize and Guatemala.

He says there has been no genuine justification for the decision, which will cost farmers of livestock and pigs $50 million this year.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow said plainly that the trade was illegal, that the Guatemalans had complained about it, and those involved could see criminal charges such as money laundering.

But Mai argues that the money is “desperately needed to aid an agonizing economy.”

With expected losses in sugar, Mai estimates that up to $100 million is out of the economy, affecting not only the northern districts but the nation as well.

Mai questions: “But why would the leader of any nation not support the twin industries that provide the few sources of FOREX, especially in times of economic catastrophe? Why would any leader kill the goose that lays the golden egg? The economic livelihood of a country and its people should rise far above any personal pride and ego!! What is the purpose of such pride while the people you were chosen to lead suffer in poverty, misery and lack of opportunity?”

Alternative routes through Mexico and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have hit snags but the Government is committed to continuing the trade with Guatemala, which has closed its borders due to COVID-19, in a legal fashion.

But that doesn’t stop Mai from calling Barrow a “monster” and mocking his statement that the next leader of Belize will have to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for guidance in overturning the economy.

 

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